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Accidents Involving Trucks Stopped On The Side Of The Highway

Accidents Involving Trucks Stopped On The Side Of The Highway

Commercial trucks, such as 18-wheelers, commonly stop on the side of highways. However, the practice can present many risks, and truck drivers should refrain from parking there for non-emergency purposes. Truckers must plan their travels, including safe places to rest that the Department of Transportation (DOT) or other agencies designate across the country. Truck drivers that pull over on highways place themselves and other motorists at risk of accidents and severe injuries. The force of impact from cars traveling at high rates of speed and striking large trucks can have catastrophic consequences. If you or a loved one has been involved in an accident, consider scheduling a consultation with an experienced Georgia truck accident lawyer today.

Why Do Trucks Stop on the Side of the Highway?

Truck drivers stop on the side of the highway for emergency and non-emergency purposes. The drivers may assume that oncoming traffic will see them because of their significant size. However, in times of poor visibility, such as during nighttime hours, motorists may only see the vehicle on the shoulder after it is too late. Some of the most common reasons that trucks stop on the side of the highway include when:

  • The driver is traveling a long distance and needs to rest
  • The truck is having mechanical issues or after a tire blowout
  • The driver needs to check the cargo
  • The trucker reached the maximum legal driving time and must take a break

Finding a place to stop with adequate room for large trucks is an ongoing issue in the commercial trucking industry. However, it is careless for drivers to park on the shoulder of a highway, freeway ramps, or other high-risk areas. When a stopped commercial truck causes an accident, the other driver may have grounds to hold the truck driver at fault.

Safe and Legal Places for Trucks to Stop

Truck drivers know they will need to stop for breaks when traveling long distances. Pulling over on the shoulder of highways is only for emergencies, so drivers must pre-plan rest stops. Some of the safe and legal places for trucks to stop for non-emergencies include:

  • DOT-designated truck stop areas
  • Reserved parking is available at truck stops
  • Free public parking in rest areas
  • Retailers, such as Walmart, with ample parking lots, that allow truck parking
  • Parking lots countrywide made available through truck parking reservation agencies

The shoulder of highways is for emergencies only, and drivers cannot rest there or stop for any other non-emergency reason. Parking on the side of roadways presents many hazards, especially at night with low visibility and a higher probability of exhausted motorists. Therefore, a court could hold a truck driver legally liable and accountable if he or she stopped for other purposes and an accident occurred.

Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration: Truckers Rules for Stopping on Highways

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration directs truck drivers on the steps to follow when they stop along highways during emergencies. These regulations help warn other drivers that there is a truck stopped ahead in order to reduce the risk of collisions. The required steps include:

  • After pulling over and stopping, the driver must immediately activate the truck’s emergency flashers
  • The trucker has ten minutes to put out warning devices, such as reflective triangles or flares

When truckers stop in residential or business areas, there are additional safety rules to follow to alert motorists that obstructions are present. Severe collisions can occur when truck drivers pull over on the side of a highway without following the safety rules and regulations. They must follow the federal and state safety rules when pulling over onto the shoulder of a road to prevent causing harm to passing motorists. When truckers fail to adhere to the rules and crashes occur, they (or their trucking company) could be liable for the damages. They also risk receiving traffic tickets and fines that could cause problems maintaining a commercial driver’s license.

Contact an Experienced Attorney Today

Truck drivers play a vital part in the food supply chain. They have demanding schedules and work long hours transporting cargo countrywide. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration strictly regulates driving hours and breaks, and drivers must find safe places to pull over and stop. Sometimes, however, urgent matters arise and cause the truck driver to stop on the side of the highway. When truckers fail to plan for rest stops or follow safety protocols during emergencies, accidents can occur that cause severe life-threatening or fatal injuries.

A skilled commercial trucking accident attorney may be able to provide more information about crashes involving trucks stopped on the side of the highway. Hall & Lampros, LLP serves all of Georgia for truck accident claims including Decatur, Riverdale, Marietta, LaGrange and Chattanooga. Contact us today at 404-876-8100 to arrange a free consultation, or complete a contact form and we will contact you.

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